Driven to the edge of insanity by the execution of his older brother, Chet (Darrell Howe) is boiling over with hatred. After getting his face slashed in a senseless alley-way brawl, his paranoia begins to paint everyone around him as an enemy. He turns to his sweet younger sister, his slutty girlfriend, and even his old poker buddies for solace, but all of them have real or imagined links back to the ill-fated trial that condemned his brother, thus aggravating Chet's psychosis. After viciously assaulting the prosecuting attorney's son, the troubled youth draws the relentless attention of detective Lt. Mac (Michael Granger). Spiraling out of control, Chet commits an arson and then a senseless murder. With Lt. Mac ratcheting up the pressure, Chet sinks deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit of his own psychotic delusions
This movie had some things going for it, but completely falls apart & the ending feels like they suddenly realized they were on their last can of film & just needed to end it. Don't waste your time on this.
July 20, 2010 Subject:
Anatomy of a Flop
Wow, there are no secrets why this one failed at the box office. The story is heavy on realism and hard on the viewer's sense of justice. "How My Crazy Brother Ended Up in the Pen Nut Ward" might have been the original story title. If viewed strictly from a historical perspective, there are some nice early 60's beat generation lifestyle and California nouveau-riche money people party moments, but not enough to make this an enjoyable film to watch. The acting isn't really bad, but the direction is, and the moralizing in the last third of the film seems to shake a finger at the audience rather than at Psycho Chet; it is enough
to drive the audience out the door and up the nearest watertower.
Darrell Howe so convincingly has us believing Chet has turned fullblown sociopath by the time he murders that it is difficult for us to believe
his later change of colors. But this is a pacing problem; not bad acting: the events of one day are 75% of the film, and then, without our being let in on the secret that someone has bumped the warp drive button comes an inditement, trial, verdict, imprisonment, confrontation, confession, change of heart, and breakdown - all in the last 20% of the film; all done so out of temporal perspective and without so much as one shot of Chet undergoing a metamorphosis that no one could possibly believe that all cold blooded Chet really needs is a big hug and some understanding psychological treatment at a mental institution. Audiences of the time would have been outraged.
Mis-served even were beat generation punk gangs getting drunk at drive-ins before going out to make mischief, as they were wrongly assured they'd get no more than holstered pistols and hugs from the cops. Beatnick junkies meeting their connections in seedy theaters might have given it a critical chance for underground fame, but that they had all been sent running for their needles out of empathy for Chet and so, blissfully, forgot to write reviews. Not fit for misanthropes even, this one, I'm afraid.
The film seems to be mis-classified here on archives as sci-fi/horror, which it isn't (unless it is assumed the palm trees and craggy mountains in the background of "Ohio" were put there by aliens). It's a Juvenile Delinquency Crime Drama; the inappropriate "horror" tag was attached at the same time the word "Psycho" was put in the title (wrong on so many levels).